When J.R.R. Tolkien's epic high-fantasy novel series, Lord of the Rings, was adapted to the big screen in 2001, an insane amount of effort went into turning the world of Middle Earth into reality.
And it was the attention to detail that was the most impressive!
We've all seen the movies and have probably all been so caught up in the whirlwind action that we've missed the minor, but crucial, elements that the producers slaved away to include. Here are six details from Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit which you may have never noticed:
1. Snow-walking Legolas
Elves are blessed with many superhuman qualities, including being far lighter on their feet than normal humans. Check out this excerpt from the books:
Slowly they moved off, and were soon toiling heavily. In places the snow was breast-high, and often Boromir seemed to be swimming or burrowing with his great arms rather than walking.
Legolas watched them for a while with a smile upon his lips, and then he turned to the others.
The strongest must seek a way, say you? But I say: let a ploughman plough, but choose an otter for swimming, and for running light over grass and leaf or over snow-an Elf.'
With that he sprang forth nimbly, and then Frodo noticed as if for the first time, though he had long known it, that the Elf had no boots, but wore only light shoes, as he always did, and his feet made little imprint in the snow.
As you can see, Legolas basically glides over the snow, while the others trudge through it. Clearly the production team rightfully thought this was crucial to include in the final movie version. Here's a clip:
Oh, and this was also depicted in the LEGO Lord of the Rings game:
Nice one guys!
2. Peter Jackson appears everywhere!
It seems that these days, directors love making the odd cameo in their own movies and Peter Jackson is no different, appearing in every single Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie. Here's a video of all of them:
3. This iconic scene is based on a cartoon
One of the best bits in The Fellowship of the Ring movie doesn't actually appear in the books. During the nerve-wracking scene where the hobbits are being followed by ringwraiths, they have no choice but to hide under some tree roots.
This particular part of the movie was borrowed from a similar scene found in Ralph Bakshi's animation adaptation of Lord of the Rings from 1978.
However, there's more! As well as paying homage to the above animation, director Peter Jackson was also inspired by a painting from the '80s artist John Howe created the following work of art after drawing inspiration from the scene from the animated movie too, which also fit in nicely with Jackson's final vision:
4. Bearded dwarf women
In Two Towers, there is a hilarious exchange between Aragorn, Gimli and Éowyn regarding dwarf women. It goes something like this:
Yet, while many would pass this off as a joke on Aragorn's part, what he's saying is actually the truth – indeed, in Middle Earth, dwarf women do have beards! Tolkien writes:
It was said by Gimli that there are few dwarf-women, probably no more than a third of the whole people. They seldom walk abroad except at great need. They are in voice and appearance, and in garb if they must go on a journey, so like to the dwarf-men that the eyes and ears of other peoples cannot tell them apart.
Need visual proof? Here are the women from the movies, if you thought they were excluded:
5. Gandalf's staff
We know that an immeasurable amount of detail was included in the movies, so in theory, it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that an insane amount of work went into perhaps one of the most legendary artifacts in the series – Gandalf's staff.
First of all, it's worth mentioning that the wizard is such a badass that he has a smoking pipe built into his staff, allowing him to puff away on the go whenever he feels like it.
Secondly, although it is confiscated after the grey wizard is captured, it reappears again in the Hobbit films. You can definitely see Gandalf the White's staff peeking out from beneath the twisted bark.
But as you can see, this isn't the same one the wizard had in the Fellowship! He actually messed up the staff above, so actually borrowed one from another wizard, Radagast the Brown.
6. The hidden message in Boromir's death scene
Unless you speak fluent Elvish, this one would be pretty hard to find. In the scene that Boromir meets his untimely death, Aragorn leans over to comfort him. During this, Howard Shore's musical score plays, with what sounds like Enya warbling on in some unknown language.
Well in fact, the chorus boasts some melancholy words in Elvish:
“I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness; I love only that which they defend.”
In the books, this quote comes from Faramir, Boromir's brother. Is this extreme attention to detail or what?